Friday, June 6, 2014

Reports Surface Of New Land Locked Volcano In India [UPDATED 6/18/2014]

So I am already skeptical about this, but there are news reports emerging of a 'new' volcano in India, in the province of Himachal Pradesh, an area in Northern India near the border to Indian controlled Kashmir. The area does not have a previous record of eruption, and unverified news reports such as this should be treated with a HIGH amount of skepticism. As this article reports:

"Flames and a hot liquid stream were seen spewing out of a hill 100 m from Gadiyada village. The village is over 200 km from Shimla. After a report by the state geologists confirmed the eruption as 'small magmatic activity', a team of Geological Survey of India (GSI) reached the site on Thursday. This is the first time such a volcanic activity has been witnessed in the state."

So far I have seen no video, and there is only a grainy picture of 'something apparently orange', which I suppose they are saying is the eruption of magma.

The "Times of India" is the only 'news source' publishing this article.

Occasionally, especially in very poor countries, like Nigeria, or in this case, India, you'll get dubious reports of supposed 'volcanic activity', which will cite 'Government Sources' as confirming the eruption, however they typically will not provide pictures or videos (and in this day and age, that should be a red flag... everyone has a camera, and we also have satellites that can easily confirm or deny the reports).

A couple years ago, there was a 'report' out of Burma of a supposed 'volcanic eruption with small amounts of magma'. Another report out of Nigeria stated that a volcano had erupted also turned out to be patently false, and was an attempt by the people of the area to get government services out there. Even another report some time last year said that Mt. Fuji had a minor eruption that created a 'new crater', which of course is completely false. No eruption at Fuji has occurred since the 16th century. The volcano is now primed for an eruption, but no activity has occurred.

In any case, this is an interesting story if true. Part of me hopes it is, but I'm keeping my skeptic hat on at this time. It's quite possible this is just a ruse, the same as in Nigeria, to generate quick money for tourism and whoever runs the 'Times of India' website. If this does turn out to be true, it would be of great scientific interest, as volcanic eruptions that occur in areas with no previously known volcanism are quite rare indeed. I'll even go so far as to say, so rare, that this is probably false... but I'll withhold judgment for the next couple days... we will see. My guess is no updates will be posted, and this is just another out of many false reports.

You can see the reported area (Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh, India) below in this Google Earth Screenshot. Nothing in the area jumps out to me as anywhere near tectonic or volcanic. Who knows?
I do see some very populated areas, more than likely with Internet access, so I would be very surprised these people don't have YouTube or camera smartphones. There are no reports from the Geological Survey of India (GSI, their equivalent of the USGS), so I am very quick to doubt this story.


*****UPDATE*****
The following video was posted to Youtube. It seems to show people digging in a forest which is not burnt. The show then zooms to clips of apparently solidified lava, and other rocks, apparently trying to convince the viewer that an eruption has happened. There is also an apparent shot of a lava "fountain", which to me looks nothing like one, and a shot of a boiling mud pot. I would at this point be confident in concluding this is indeed a stunt to lure tourists to the town under false expectations. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piZUju3-XDc

*****FINAL UPDATE*****

This story just popped up confirming that this was in no way an actual volcano... but it is now sort of easy to see why people were initially fooled. Apparently a buried electrical cable was damaged and caught fire underground, causing sand and rock to actually melt, producing what appeared to be a 'lava-like' substance. As suspected, there are no active volcanoes on the Indian landmass, and this was indeed a case of mistaken identity.


2 comments:

  1. Hi! I too am skeptical like you about the report until it is verified. Apparently there is a video on the supposed eruption on youtube now. Still cannot make out from the video whether it is a small eruption or a small bush fire! Have to wait for a authenticate confirmation.

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  2. In complete agreement there. From several past experiences, it seems this is a tactic to generate tourism dollars by way of scamming curious people. If it were true, I'm sure NASA or USGS would have been made aware.

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